Walking is a simple, flexible and cost-effective way to exercise. And it’s perfect if you've been a little intimidated by other workout programs.
If you have a health condition or have not done any regular physical activity for a long time, or if you are a man over 40 or woman over 50, talk with your doctor before starting a walking program, or any new exercise program.
Choose comfortable, supportive shoes, such as running, walking or cross training shoes, or light hiking boots.
If you're going for a longer walk, be sure to warm up, stretch and cool-down after your walk to reduce stress on your heart and muscles.
Maintain a brisk pace. You should work hard to keep up your pace but still be able to talk while walking.
Practice correct posture — head upright, arms bent at the elbow and swinging as you stride.
Drink plenty of water before, during and after walking to cool working muscles and keep your body hydrated.
With any form of exercise, you should always stretch before and after in order to avoid injury. The longer and faster you walk, the more time you should spend stretching.
In addition to stretching, consider starting your walks (and your walking program) slowly. Unless you are already walking a lot, it may take a while before you reach the 10,000 steps goal.
Some walkers find that it is difficult to stay motivated after they’ve been walking for a while. You can keep your walking program fresh by walking in different places or at different times of the day. And remember – there are lots of unique ways to add extra steps.
Consider adding other walking routines to your day by organizing a lunchtime walking group at work, or a before- or after-work group with friends or neighbors.
Instead of watching television after dinner, get the whole family outside for a game of tag, Frisbee or a walk around the block.
Try not to get stuck in the "all or nothing" rut — even if you don't have time for a long walk.